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Looking Back

For me, Penrod is the culmination of the year’s major activities.  Once Penrod is put to bed, Security is coasting toward the end of the year.  Sure, we just had the 125th anniversary gala (I left before the auction ended), but it was just another party to us.  We’ve done a hundred parties – smile, keep drinks out of the galleries, corral Freiman’s group on the 2nd floor – same old, same old.  I’m talking about the heavy lifting.

The end of the Roman Art exhibit started the year for us.  As usual, visitors waited till the last weekend to come see the show.  The line looped completely through all the first floor galleries.  We kept the visitors occupied and relatively happy while they waited two hours to see the show.

We also started the festivities with storms that blew trees down on the property, taking power lines and fencing with them.  When power goes down for any length of time, the conservators and registrars get fidgety, so we had to deal with notifications and, you know, darkness.  This incident was the first of several we experienced throughout the year, including a generator malfunction that resulted in twenty-foot flames shooting from the dock exhaust pipe like an F-18 launch from the Ronald Reagan.

We survived the Summer Nights film series, including our first midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Numerous organizers were concerned because the movie was starting as the opening party for the Egyptian exhibit was ending.  A challenge, but we got through it with flying colors.  Emails from moviegoers said what a great time they had and “can we do it again next year?”

Our officers responded to numerous medical emergencies throughout the year.  Though trained in basic first aid, they didn’t do much in the way of bandaging folks up.  The majority of incidents seemed to be of the low sugar/ill feeling variety.  When it really hit the fan we called in EMTs to do the serious work, but our officers were great at staying professional and tending to the victims.

Some other accomplishments this year included hiring and training two (or three, I lost track) new officer classes, training new control room officers, getting everyone through verbal de-escalation training, and finally figuring out the Red Cross on-line First Aid/CPR course.  Doing on-line training cut way down on our overtime by allowing officers to work at their own pace instead of having to come in on a day off.

Speaking of training, with the help of the Nugget Factory and numerous staff members, PSD was able to create its first in-house training video.  The video shows several scenarios of visitor interactions and illustrates the proper way for our security officers to behave.  Our actor-officers had a great time filming the video and their performances have provided hours of entertainment for the rest of their teammates.

Mindy Summers and I arranged a meet & greet with Major Paul Ciesielski, the IMPD Northwest district commander, and Jackie Stackman, the Community Relations officer.  We had lunch at Puck’s, showed them the security control room, and got some tips on how to take a bite out of crime.  Jackie now sends regular alerts and dates of community meetings, and police officers have held roving roll calls on our campus to help provide an enhanced presence in our area.

I now have a new BFF in Lisa Freiman, our Contemporary curator.  She begged me for her own cartoon and I never miss a chance to suck up to the cool kids, so I relented.  Inspired by Lisa’s Belly of the Beast blog entry, here’s what I came up with.

Oh, and Penrod?  It was perfect!  The weather was great, there were no lost kids, no injuries, and the Budweiser Clydesdales didn’t bite, stomp, or poop on anyone.

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